With light synths and a catchy chorus, Katy Perry musters up a return to form on “Never Really Over.” Is it enough to reignite her career?

“Never Really Over” is a treat to music is a treat for fans who missed the kind of material she was pumping out during her Teenage Dream and Prism eras which spawned hits like “Firework,” “Roar” and “Dark Horse.”

With production helmed by Zedd and Dreamlab, and a sample borrowed from “Love You Like That” by Norwegian pop artist Dagny, Perry is in comfortable territory again. This comfortable zone previously earned her nine number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and three RIAA diamond-certified songs between 2008 and 2014.

The visuals for “Never Really Over” make references to hippie culture and New Age symbolism. In the track, Perry references emotions for an ex that keep resurfacing, but in the end, it’s a hopeful song with a positive message about making peace within oneself and with others.

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Whether Perry is able to recreate the same success she had before is still up in the air, however. In the five years that Perry’s been without a smash hit, a lot has changed. It’s similar to when R&B singer Brandy returned to a commercially acceptable sound on 2008’s Human, after almost seven years of abandoning top 40 radio for a more experimental sound on 2001’s Full Moon and 2004’s Afrodisiac.

Perry might find herself falling into the same boat that’s being sailed by artists like HAIM and Carly Rae Jepsen who make pop music that isn’tactually popular. As evidence, Carly Rae Jepsen has been called a “pop princess” many times, but hasn’t entered the top 40 since 2015 with “I Really Like You.” And HAIM, whose music has been described as “glossily depthless pop perfection” have yet to even chart on the Billboard Hot 100. After all, pop music is short for popular music, and theirs is anything but.

Perry is clearly trying to stay away from depthless music while still creating pop perfection, but it’s going to need to translate to the masses if she’s looking for another juggernaut of a hit. One thing’s for sure; as one of her peers, Lady Gaga, sung on her 2019 Billboard Hot 100 number one, “we’re far from the shallow now.”